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Gambling Downturn - Fact or Fiction?

21/10/08 Gambling Downturn - Fact or Fiction?

Francis Wevers of the Charity Gaming Association has stated that the number of people spending money on pokies has dropped and that the average spend per person is about $60 a year on gambling , the NZ Herald reports. This estimate of how much people are gambling a year is missing the true cost, says Graeme Ramsey, CEO of The Problem Gambling Foundation.

The Department of Internal Affairs reports that $945 million was lost on pokies outside casinos in 2007. It is estimated by the Dept. of Internal Affairs that 10.2% of adults who are legally able to play pokies do so, which means that in the last year they lost on average $2762 per person.

It is recognized that the vast bulk of losses are attributed to a small percentage of problem gamblers so for this group the losses can run into many thousands which we know has a huge impact on the gamblers families and their communities.

Considering that in 1988 there were virtually no losses to pokie machines and that today we are looking at close to $2.77 million lost every day to pokies, we have a long way to go to get back to where communities and our most vulnerable are not sustaining losses through pokies.

A downturn in the economy will stop some people from gambling as Mr Wevers stated, but often for the problem gambler, the lure to win is even stronger and drives people to even more desperate gambling. This is a very important time for the pokie industry to step up and action their host responsibility obligations, as they will be seeing more problem gamblers coming through their venues in this time of economic hardship, says Graeme Ramsey.

ENDS

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